My mum (AKA Grandma), my elder daughter (AKA Maddie) and myself (AKA Wayne), played one of my recent game purchases this morning.
Red November is a cooperative game designed by Bruno Faidutti and Jef Gontier and was published by Fantasy Flight Games in 2008. Players are gnomish submariners on board an experimental submarine (the Red November) which has gone haywire. The gnomes must work together as fires break out, leaks develop and critical systems start to fail.
I'd prepared for the game by downloading a game FAQ from BGG a couple of weeks ago. For our first game I had to teach the girls as well as having to refer to the rule book many times. The game took us about 2 hours in total. I'm sure next game will come in at under an hour now that we are familiar with the game mechanisms.
Maddie chose the purple gnome, Grandma yellow and myself dark green. At first we were able to keep the fires and blocked hatches under control. As we progressed, more fires and leaks added to our distress. Maddie's gnome accumulated many items but unfortunately lost all but one when Maddie pulled the Stumbled! event. My gnome was able to save the sub from a nuclear meltdown by first drinking a bottle of grog, then putting out a fire and then fixing the reactor. Unfortunately my gnome must have been a tea-totaller because he failed the faint check after the single bottle. He was happily unconscious for what remained of the game.
Grandma's gnome was able to save the sub from being crushed by the extreme pressure but then found that a nuclear missile was going to explode in 10 minutes. The only gnome in a position to fix this timed event was Maddie's gnome. Unfortunately, her gnome didn't have any grog or fire extinguishers to enter the missile room which had a fire blazing away. Her only hope was to enter the equipment room and hope to pick up one of the necessary items. Unfortunately, on the previous turn, Grandma had place a blocked hatch counter on the door Maddie's gnome needed to enter. The gnome only had three minutes to end up on the same minute as the timed event which would allow him another turn to fix it before he passed it and it blew up.
Maddie needed to roll a 3 or under on a 10-sided die. She rolled a 1! We all cheered and high-fived. That put her gnome on the same minute as the missile explosion. Then we realised that Maddie's gnome would have to use actions to search for equipment and would have to end the turn before being able to move again to the missile room to perform the fixing action. Ah well.
With 23 minutes remaining before rescue the missile exploded, totally vapourising the Red November and the brave gnomes aboard her.
We all agreed that although we lost, this was a very fun game. There is a constant tension, some tough decisions which need to be made, as well as the ongoing excitement of the luck of the die and cards. We're looking forward to playing it again.